Cherry Glazerr, Cheatahs, And Fidlar At the Echoplex, Thursday February 27th 2014
My whole body still hurts from what happened last night, I am much older than all these young kids, and standing in line for 3 hours then fighting the crazy moshing-jumping-pushing crowd inside the Echoplex was a bit too much, but it was well worth it. A $3 concert at the Echoplex, headlined by Fidlar and curated by Red Bull Sound Select and Amoeba, was announced a few weeks ago, and I immediately planned to go. My story with punk band Fidlar started during the summer of 2011, you can still read my review here, and at that time, the crowd at the Echo was very thin, there were like 10-15 people in the room! But the LA band has become big, huge I should say, as they are now a local big deal – and they have actually started to take over the entire planet I’ve heard! I was planning to see them one more time, beside the other bands playing the bill (Cheatahs, Cherry Glazerr, Isaac Rother and the Phantoms) but I didn’t expect such craziness: a line so long, stretching around the block and beyond, and some kids who had been camping there since 4 pm! Wow,…. Fidlar are like the Rolling Stones now? I arrived before 7 pm and I couldn’t believe it, it was passed 9 pm, the line was barely moving, and I realized it would be very hard to get in! People around me were sort of losing hope but they were not leaving either, and I decided to play my rocknyc card, which usually doesn’t work, but this time it did for some wonderful reason!
So I was in and the girl-fronted garage band Cherry Glazerr was almost done already! The girl had some angelic voice with rather nonchalant surf-punk ballads, and sometimes more action and aggressiveness, although what I heard was rather melodious and totally cool,… I barely heard them but they will be back at Burgerama late March, and I will try to catch them there. They sure looked very young and they are named after a NPR anchor which is, to my knowledge, unheard of for a punk band.
Cheatahs were next, and they totally erased some of the sugary punk pop leftover by Cherry Glazerr. Instead they were heavy, loud and dense, in a sort of My Bloody Valentine way, may be? That’s the only reference that came to my mind during the set, and I am not into that kind of music enough to find other comparisons, but I could tell this sound, building a rather lugubrious and occasionally dissonant saturated reverb, was something I had heard before. They were presented as a fast band, and I don’t know why, since their music was rather a shoegazing wall of deafening and noisy guitars. I couldn’t catch their melodies live, but may be that wasn’t the point, there were three of them singing together at times, but these weren’t harmonies. Such a sinister morose sound could only come from rainy England, and they could have made Dinosaur Jr. sound somewhat upbeat in comparison. There were more melodious crumbs as they progressed through their thick sound, but they were quite a contrast with the upcoming joyful drunk anthems of Fidlar.
I guess nothing compare to Fidlar live, listening to their album doesn’t even come close to the craziness of their shows, bringing the house down each time, thanks to four guys who play like furious drunks and a herd of stage divers, crowd surfers who have totally embraced the ‘Fuck It Dog Life’s A Risk’ party formula. I guess they played all their punk anthems with the same usual conviction, and they owned the place at the first surf riff. The room was on fire, and even though I was a bit in the back, at the top of some stairs to see better – I am not totally crazy! – I saw the energy climb to the roof and collapse like a big chaos of human tsunami… But Fidlar keeps it simple, very simple, ‘this song is about rehab, and rehab sucks!’ said frontman Zac Carper, ‘This song is about girls because girls are mean!’… ‘This song is about the west coast, the best coast!’ Don’t look for any political message in these guys’ songs, they always cultivate this direct, simple message ‘life is a party and we should get wasted and have fun’, but you know what? It sells like cheap beer. ‘We have toured the world,’ added Zac, ‘but Los Angeles is the best city! Haaaa what did I say? You don’t take notes during a Fidlar’s show, it’s simply impossible, and I didn’t see a setlist so I would say they played at least ‘Cheap Beer’, ‘Stoked and Broke’, ‘White on ‘White’, ‘No Waves’, ‘No Ass’, ‘Mac Can’t surf’, ‘Wake Bake Skate’, ‘West Coast’, ‘I wanna be your cocaine’, in no particular order and many more, plus a few new songs and a David Bowie cover… I can’t remember which one, I may still have a hangover due to my over-consumption of free Red Bulls, but they also recently covered Nick Cave, which demonstrates how tasteful they are.
‘We are called Fidlar, F. I. D. L. A. R.’, kept repeating Zac, acting as if they were still this new upcoming band, ‘you need to buy our shit, because we need your money’, making allusion to the merchandize table selling handmade t-shirts like crazy. They were up for one more of their sing-along moshpit-ready songs, and even the band did some stage diving! A girl after the show told me how happy she was to have found her shoe, and she wasn’t the only one browsing the debris on the floor. One thing is certain, after such a memorable night, Fidlar isn’t gonna stop to preach their debauchery-without-a-cause message anytime soon.